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  • By Noor Nanji
  • Culture correspondent

Image source, Getty Images

The US actor Bill Hayes, who starred in the soap opera Days of Our Lives for more than five decades, has died at the age of 98.

He first portrayed the character of Doug Williams in 1970 and also met his wife, the actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, while filming the series.

Last June, he celebrated his 98th birthday on the set of the American daytime soap surrounded by co-stars.

His agent told the BBC he died on Friday surrounded by family.

The cause of his death has not been revealed.

Born William Foster Hayes III in Harvey, Illinois, in 1925, Hayes began his career as a musician and had a hit with The Ballad of Davy Crockett.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Bill Hayes married his Days of our Lives co-star Susan Seaforth Hayes

He then began focusing more on acting, and landed his most notable role on NBC’s Days of Our Lives in February 1970 as a convict who was also a lounge singer.

He went on to portray the character of Doug Williams on and off over the next 50 years, through to 2023.

His co-star, Seaforth Hayes, joined the daytime soap two years before him, playing the character of Julie Williams.

The pair played an on-screen couple, and eventually became a real-life couple, tying the knot in 1974.

They went on to say “I do” again – this time on television – when their characters got married to each other two years later.

The popularity of their romance even led to them appearing on the cover of Time that year.

In 2018, both he and Seaforth Hayes received the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Hayes had five children from a previous marriage to Mary Hobbs.

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